This past week the Supreme Court Justice's ruled that corporations and unions can make direct contributions to fund campaign ads. This brings into question this whole idea about freedom of speech and corporations having some human rights under law. Let's get down on this issue.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. Doesn't say printed text or a video image portraying a textual format. Just says speech. Speech is a product of theHUMAN voice box, caused by constricting and relaxing the muscles of the throat along with the complex movement of the mouth, tongue and lips. Speech is derived from someone's voice or reproduced from a magnetic recording. A person's voice is comprised of complex sound waves, traveling about 1170 feet per second. Voice frequencies may range from approx 100Hz to 5kHz, largely dependent as to male or female. The amplitude of one's voice may range from near 0dBa uperwards of 90dBa, or equivalent to a loud scream directly into your ear.
So, how could a corporation come to have the right of freedom of speech? Corporation defined: A fictitious legal entity/person which has rights and duties independent of the rights and duties of real persons and which is legally authorized to act in its own name through duly appointed agents. Like a real person, a corporation can enter into contracts, sue and be sued, pay taxes separately from its owners, and do the other things necessary to conduct business.
Justice Hugo Black wrote "in 1886, this Court in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, decided for the first time that the word 'person' in the amendment did in some instances include corporations...The history of the amendment proves that the people were told that its purpose was to protect weak and helpless human beings and were not told that it was intended to remove corporations in any fashion from the control of state governments...The language of the amendment itself does not support the theory that it was passed for the benefit of corporations.
So, few objected to the law and the passage of time enhanced its legality. Unlike people, corporations live on in perpetuity. So, in looking for another bite at the apple corporations went to court on another issue. The US Supreme Court, in its 1976 decision in the case Buckley v. Valeo, essentially concluded that money spent to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. How does one equate money to speech? You can flap it around, squeeze it, sit on it, but you can't get any sounds from it resembling speech. Money is not speech and a barking dog is not speech. The Constitution nor the Bill of Rights makes no mention of Money being related to speech.
Most six year olds would understand the one person, one vote universal principle.
Most adults would understand that corporations are not human, are not endeared with freedom of speech in the Constitution.
Most judges would understand that giving corporations and unions, on a worldwide scale, the ability to collect, bundle and direct funds for campaign ads at specific politicians violates every concept of the Constitution.
Leaves one with the compelling notion that the SCJ's are more judicial activists than wise and learned judges. Indeed, the Corpocracy is on a roll and will soon be back for another bite at the apple, direct funding of candidates and incumbents.
Pat Choate, in "Saving Capitalism' says we have until 2011-12 to address our budget deficit or expect worse conditions than the Great Depression. Ex-GAO Chief, Walker says we have less than 5 years to act before we reach an unsustainable situation. Enough to get me moving. I suggest, at first light, we begin work on a party that can achieve reforms to ensure our survival as a Republic.